Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad addressed a joint press conference in Islamabad on Friday.
PM Khan spoke on his government’s commitment to emulate Mohamad’s achievements in Malaysia. He highlighted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) focus on rooting out corruption and said Malaysia’s progress in that sphere was a prime inspiration.
“We firmly believe that nations are not poor and, rather, it is corruption that leads to a loss of resources. Corruption destroys institutions and negates efforts for human development.”
“My party, the PTI, started a campaign against corruption 22 years ago and our drive continues with even greater strength today,” said Imran as he invited Mahathir to take the stage.
“I am happy to join you in celebrating Pakistan Day. We have been very well received by PM Khan and the government of Pakistan. We have held bilateral discussions on significant issues affecting Pakistan, Malaysia and the larger Muslim world,” said the Malaysian prime minister.
“We deliberated on ways to enhance our economic relationship with Pakistan, and there is no doubt that both of us stand to benefit from increased trade.”
“We have discussed the possibility of foreign direct investment and outlined other measures that Pakistan and Malaysia need to take to boost trade,” said Mahathir, adding that having common laws could prove particularly beneficial.
“Malaysia remains very concerned by corruption. As PM Imran said, no nation is poor but is brought to that state because of corruption. This is why we came back to power with a promise to combat the corruption that was rampant under the previous government.”
“It is sad to note that not a single Muslim-majority country is truly developed. Malaysia’s aim was to become a developed nation by 2020, but due to corruption, our target has been pushed back till 2025.”
Mahathir also spoke on the need for unity among Muslim nations amid a rising wave of Islamophobia around the world.
“I have noticed that there is a fear of and enmity towards us as Muslims. The recent terror attack in New Zealand claimed the lives of nine Pakistanis and affected three from Malaysia. This attack happened because of the feeling of hatred towards Muslims.”
“Pakistan and Malaysia both understand the need to find ways to combat Islamophobia. This is our priority. We must work to improve the perception of Muslims in the world. We must change the prevailing atmosphere of fear; we must also realise that fighting back does not always mean killing each other.”
The Malaysian prime minister said discussions were also held on efforts to tackle terrorism. “We believe there is room for cooperation in this area and look forward to working out a comprehensive plan.”